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|Johnny Cash||Primary Artist|
|Cary E. Mansfield||Reissue Producer|
|Bill Dahl||Liner Notes, Reissue Producer|
|Bill Pitzonka||Art Direction|
Posted October 1, 2010
Sun Records made a cottage industry of releasing Johnny Cash albums for several years after the artist had moved over to Columbia Records. Ironically, this 1962 collection of previously issued tracks (some from singles, some from the vault) is more focussed on actual train songs than Cash’s purpose-built 1960 Columbia release, "Ride This Train." In addition to the title track, "Blue Train" also finds Cash singing his own "Train of Love," "Hey, Porter!" and "Folsom Prison Blues," and covering "The Wreck of Old ’97," Leadbelly’s "Rock Island Line," and Hank Williams’ "(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle." ¶ Sam Phillips’ produced most of these tracks, and the few helmed by Jack Clement are mercifully short on his chorus and background overdubs. These are sparse tic-tac (or, in this case, click-clack) Tennessee Three arrangements, giving Cash’s baritone plenty of space to shine. Varese’s reissue adds a generous six bonus tracks, including originally unissued alternate takes of "Hey, Porter!" and "Train of Love," and an incomplete, originally unissued take of Jimmie Rodgers’ "Brakeman’s Blues." Two solo takes from Cash, a rockin’-gospel "Leave That Junk Alone" and 1954 rockabilly "You’re My Baby (Little Woolly Booger)" are also both worthy additions. ¶ Considering that these songs were recorded individually, over a five year period, there’s a remarkable consistency and continuity. That’s due in part to Cash and his band, but it also speaks to Sun’s intention for this to be more than a slap-dash collection of previously issued tracks. This may not have been recorded as an album, but it sure plays like a good one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.